As the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt has been very engaging through social media, in particular, on Twitter. I asked Mr. Slavitt some questions about his perspective on the use of social media in healthcare. He was kind enough to provide these insights that I am excited to share with my patients and physician colleagues.
Mr. Slavitt also provided answers to some tough questions on MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) and its effect on urologists and small practices for ‘Urology Times’.
How has being active on social media, particularly Twitter, changed your perspective on the challenges and opportunities to improve healthcare in the United States?
Andy Slavitt: I came into this job with a perspective from an outsider in the private sector who often felt like the development and implementation of CMS regulations were a black box. I’ve used to Twitter to try to bring light to that black box, while also connecting with those people who our policies affect. As a public servant, everyone’s opinions are important and born of experience.
Being publicly available has driven home that CMS, especially its leaders like me, need to show our human sides and what is motivating us in our decision making. Health care is personal and affects us all, and being available to the public through my email and Twitter has made sure that stays at the front and center. There are universal instincts that drive many conversations about health care – making sure care is high quality, coordinated, and respectful to the patient and their needs, keeping people comfortable and in their communities, and supporting people who are providing easy and affordable access to health care.
How has input from patients, expressed through social media, had an impact on the current design of MACRA? How do you foresee MACRA will ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes in healthcare?
Andy Slavitt: We’ve engaged patients from across the country both through in-person listening sessions and through social media. At the forefront of the implementation of MACRA is patient care. Using that guide and listening to the patient community, we’ve identified the following priorities in our implementation:
- Supporting quality, coordinated care – MACRA must help physicians provide patients with the clinically appropriate care for their conditions and reduces avoidable hospitalizations, emergency department visits, adverse medication interactions, and other problems caused by inappropriate care or siloed care.
- Unlocking patient data – Encourage physicians to communicate with their patients about their health data using technology that is open, safe, and reliable.
- Simplify requirements to put patients in the center of their care – MACRA streamlined these various requirements into a single, simplified framework where physicians have the opportunity to be paid more for providing better value and better care for their patients.
Many thanks to Mr. Andy Slavitt for answering our questions! You can follow him on Twitter at @ASlavitt.
Also, thank you to Drs. Stuart Wolf and Brent Hollenbeck, Wendy Isett from the American Urological Association, and Aisling McDonough from CMS for your help and collaboration in preparing these questions.
Look for the full interview in an upcoming issue of Urology Times.